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2023 Spending Mobile Hero

California Tourism Spending Sets New Record

By Dan Smith | 3 min

After a devastating downturn caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, travel spending in California fully recovered in 2023, setting a record for spending and surpassing the $144.9 billion spent in 2019.

Tourism’s full return spotlighted that tourism is one of California’s most productive economic sectors.


“California tourism is back where it belongs – setting records and providing for the workers, business owners and all Californians who depend on it. The industry has once again proven its ability to recover from any challenge, whether it be economic or environmental. California continues to be the largest, most diverse, and most resilient tourism economy in the United States.”


Visit California’s 2023 annual economic impact report shows:

  • Travel spending surpassed $150 billion in 2023, setting a record and marking full spending recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic.
  • Spending exceeded 2019 levels in 34 out of 58 counties.
  • Three of California’s four international gateways – San Diego, Orange and Los Angeles counties – exceeded 2019 travel spending levels, while San Francisco was 97.2% recovered.
  • The $12.7 billion in state and local taxes generated by visitors in 2023 marked a 3% increase over 2019.
  • Taxes generated by travel in 2023 saved Californians $966 per household.
  • Tourism created 64,900 new jobs in 2023, bringing total industry employment to 1,155,000. That’s 98% of 2019 levels, before the pandemic shut down businesses and put more than 500,000 travel and hospitality workers out of work in a matter of days.
  • International visitors spent $24.3 billion in California in 2023, a 38% increase over 2022 and 15% below the $28.6 billion peak in 2018.